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Awaiting the July jobs report

Job seekers arrive at the National Career Fairs' San Francisco South Career Fair on July 16, 2012 in San Mateo, Calif.

Jeremy Hobson: In just a couple hours we'll get the most important economic numbers of the month. The Labor Department will tell us how many jobs were created in the U.S. in July, and what the new unemployment rate is.

For a preview, we're joined by Richard DeKaser. He's an economist with Wells Fargo. Good morning.

Richard DeKaser: Good morning.

Hobson: Well, Richard what are you expecting when we get the jobs report, later this morning, for the month of July? 

DeKaser: I’ll think we’ll see about a 145,000 jobs created, which is nothing great. By historical standards it’s very moderate. But the real question is how does it compare to where we’ve just been? The previous three months - April, May, June - averaged 75,000 very consistently. So if we get back to something in the vicinity of 150,000 or there abouts I think that would be encouraging – at least to the extent that we’re pulling out of the mud.

Hobson: Well, Richard what about the unemployment rate? We’re at 8.2 percent years after the financial crisis that led to this huge recession. It seems like we’re in pretty bad shape still.

DeKaser: We’re in bad shape if where we could be is -- what most economist regard as full employment -- somewhere around 5.5 to 6 percent. So until we see numbers south of 7 percent the labor market still has a way to go.

Hobson: Now obviously this is a business story, an economic story. It’s also going to be a political story because we’re just a few months out from the election. Do you think there’s any chance that the unemployment rate at 8.1 percent is going to make any kind of significant dip before election day?  

DeKaser: I think we might lose a tenth or two between now and November. If we do I think it would help all the incumbents – the president as well as all the rest. But I think that the possibility of any huge gains are very remote which at this late stage of the game makes for a very close election climate.

Hobson: Richard DeKaser, economist with Wells Fargo, thank you so much.

DeKaser: It’s been my pleasure.  

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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